Tying In A Health Savings Account
Ask any employer that has a wellness program and their goal is to have a positive impact on their employees. In order to have that, however, employers constantly focus on how to increase worker participation. As can be expected, this is a challenging endeavor, but some new and ground-breaking tactics are being used.
One of these tactics is to tie-in a wellness program with a health savings account (HSA). Typically, an HSA allows employees to use money that's tax free to pay for health care expenses such as medicine, first aid items, or other qualified costs.
According to Employee Benefit News, one way that employees are making HSAs work together with a wellness program is to partially fund an employee's HSA. This is the incentive to get them interested in the account in the first place. Then, the employer can influence participation in the wellness program by requiring workers to meet specific health criteria. For example, an employer can require that employees complete a health risk assessment in order for the money to be deposited into their HSA.
By taking the health risk assessment, an employee becomes more aware of their physical well-being while at the same time creating a desire to do something to improve their health. It also allows the company to control and perhaps even reduce their health care costs by incentivizing employees to follow a wellness program designed to help them become healthy -- or maintain their already healthy lifestyle.
Not only is this a win-win for both parties, but it can be a way for employers to use this tactic with other internal health-related programs. Of course, it's up to the employer to implement this tactic and educating its employees is a key provision to making it work effectively.
A number of legal requirements apply to this type of arrangement, so always consult with knowledgeable advisors before proceeding.